It was like something out of a Norman Rockwell painting: kids and dogs, dogs and kids, and a beautiful sunny day.
For the first time, dogs were invited to the annual Easter egg hunt at Wilder Park—and not just to watch. They actually got to sniff out their own treat-filled eggs during their own event.
But first, they waited patiently for their two-legged friends to compete in the shortest race of their little lifetimes. There was a bit of a false start in the 4- to 6-year-old age group, located on the lawn in front of Wilder Mansion. When the countdown got to about 6, two kids ran out on the field. When the others saw this, about 20 more ran out, and in very short order, with really no way to contain their excitement, most had an egg in hand before the counter hit "3-2-1."
After about 20 seconds, thousands of treats were found and hardly anyone was crying, a success by any measure.
Then, it was the dogs' turn. Many were decked out in bunny costumes, their favorite sports jerseys and princess tutu skirts.
The eggs were tossed out onto the field at about 10:25 a.m. Hundreds of pups acted as if they were in a giant game of fetch, tugging at their leashes as the colorful (they didn't care about that) orbs were flying through the air.
"This is what heaven must be like," a young golden doodle said.
"Please-oh-please-oh-please-oh-please," added a Boston terrier.
That was at 10:25 a.m. They then waited a full 30 minutes with all those rewards in front of them for the start of their hunt at 11 a.m. The decorated dogs tippie-toed through the lawn as they were led by The Easter Bunny and a large yellow Peep in a costume parade.
It's been said that when dogs smell a cake, they don't just smell the cake. They can smell every individual ingredient that went into that cake. Where a human has about 5 million scent receptors in their nose, a dog has up to 300 million. This makes their patience—or their plight, depending on how you look at it—even more remarkable.
Finally, the countdown.
Most of them could have picked up their own eggs, maybe even dropped them into a basket, but to keep it fair and keep it moving, the humans helped out a lot.
This hunt, too, was over in 20 seconds.
Another egg hunt and bunny visit followed at 1 p.m. at Spring Road. We'd love to see your photos from that event, as well as the Wilder Park event. Upload them right here.